Ever wonder why so many party hard on Cinco de Mayo?? I have always wondered how this holiday became so popular because in Mexico it isn't quite as celebrated as here in the United States. So what does Cinco de Mayo represent??
Cinco de Mayo represents the Mexican Army's victory over France back in 1862. Some have often confused Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day which happened at different times in history. Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.
So what happened on Cinco de Mayo that makes it so significant??
On May 5, 1862, Lorencez (General for the French Army) drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla (a small city in East Central Mexico) and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash. The French had 6,000 troops and the Mexicans had a small troop of 2,000 men!! Talk about being out numbered!! I forgot to mention, the French hadn't lost a battle in the last 50 years, so the significance of this battle was quite important! Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.
So why is it so popular in the United States??
The holiday has been adopted to boost sales!!! What??
Sales in tequila and various other alcoholic beverages are up during this day...along with the sale of piñatas!! Sales on typical ingredients for Hispanic food are up as well!! Most celebrate with mariachi's and decorations in the colors red, white and green to represent the Mexican Flag. There are often many celebrations going at bars, dance clubs and other places in the United States. I am Mexican-American and we never celebrated Cinco de Mayo in our household because my father said it was like any other day...I still find it amazing that the Mexican Army was able to hold down their fort being out numbered as they were. Will I start celebrating Cinco de Mayo?? OF COURSE!!! It does give me an excuse to drink some Tequila and enjoy some homemade Mexican food!!! <---although this you will typically find on any other day in my household, any day of the year, minus the Tequila on certain days!!
Even though Cinco de Mayo was of little significance to the country of Mexico overall, it still had some impact on some of us in the future!! So let the celebration begin!! So remember, Cinco de Mayo, is not Mexican Independence, it is the date that the Mexican Army won the battle against the French Army in the city of Puebla.